Thoughts on a blown save:
- I thought about posting last night, but figured I’d better sleep on it after that blown save to give myself time to figure this one out.
- I don’t blame Todd Jones. I didn’t yesterday and I still don’t. Closers blow saves. It’s what they do. Jones has a high save percentage in recent years, but he’s not going to be perfect. He pitched twice in 16 hours and just didn’t have anything working. I know some beat writers say “If you have a closer available, use him,” but Jones is getting up there in years and, having seen action eight times in 14 games, was near the top of the MLB in appearances before he went to the mound yesterday. That worried me even before he warmed up.
- The problem does not begin with Jones. The problem begins eight innings before Jones gets the call. It only gets worse in the seventh and eighth innings — Joel Zumaya’s seventh and eighth innings excluded. The Tigers have been in eight one-run games (5-3 record) — most in the majors — because of the batters and bullpen.
- Detroit doesn’t score enough runs. This seems counterintuitive, obviously, because it has 71 for third most in the American League. But that’s a bit misleading. The Tigers have scored three or fewer runs in eight of 15 games. Even if all eight were shutouts heading into the ninth inning, that’s eight save situations already. The offense needs to score more consistently.
- The second problem is the bullpen. Right now, that feared Bengal Bullpen looks more like a helpless kitten. Bullpens are one of those mysterious things in baseball where they can go from good to average quickly and you’re not sure why. The Indians 2005 run was helped by a good pen. In 2006, Cleveland’s relievers struggled.
- So even on a day when the Tigers score — oh, let’s say 10 runs — Todd Jones was in for a save. This simply should not occur. Jason Grilli, Jose Mesa, Wil Ledezma, Bobby Seay, these guys can’t allow the opponents to get something started. There is absolutely no way he should have been in that game. More recently against the Royals, the strength of the pen was asked to stop a Kansas City surge on a day Zumaya should have rested.
- In extra innings, the Tigers are 1-3. This is partially luck. That goes a long way when it’s almost sudden death overtime. But it also speaks that the pen is suspect.
- Simply put, the Tigers need to step up because you can’t be calling on Jones and Zumaya every other day for 162 games. If the Tigers have to do that, they’re not going to be a playoff contender.
- Don’t blame Jones for this one.
- Fernando Rodney is a mystery all his own.
Other Tigers thoughts and news:
- Curtis Granderson isn’t on the All-Star ballot?! Because there is no DH in the NL park, Gary Sheffield is listed as an outfielder, and one Tigers outfielder had to be left off. I guess they chose Grandy because of seniority, or because Monroe hit some walkoffs, or something. I don’t know. Monroe has no chance of being voted in. Not that Grandy does either, but he’s quickly catching up to Grady Sizemore in young star potential as a center fielder. He deserved a spot.
- I have a feeling Granderson will lead the Tigers outfield in votes anyway thanks to the write-in option.
- Nate Robertson blogged today.
- Brian looks at Guillen, Sheffield and Monroe’s numbers (TigerBlog)
- Two things of interest at the Detroit Tigers Weblog game thread. First, Bilfer looked at Leyland’s decision to attempt to bunt the runner in the 10th inning. Second, there’s some good discussion going on, as always. (DTW)
- Eric compares 2006 to 2007. (D-town Baseball)
- New: What’s up with the MLB threatening to fine Carlos Guillen for wearing his pocket out, as he has since 2004? They just discovered this? (Tigers.com)
- Rock-n-Rye has cameraphone photos and thoughts on yesterday’s game. (From the CoPa)
News from the MLB
- Geoff noticed something interesting about Mark Buehrle’s starts before he threw the no hitter. (Knuckle Curve)
- Felix Hernandez is injured. Mariners fans are speechless. (Lookout Landing)
- Former Baseball Prospectus writer Dayn Perry says “give VORP a chance.“
- Phillies MVP Ryan Howard will have an MRI on his knee. (The Good Phight)
- Phillies starter Brett Myers will head to the bullpen. Jon Lieber will start. (Baseball Think Factory)
- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel challenged a radio reporter to a fight. (Larry Brown Sports)
- Perhaps my Phillies-as-the-wildcard pick was a bit off.